US vice president Joe Biden says Washington should seek an “adaptive missile defense shield” and conventional warheads with global range.
Biden, who spoke at the National Defense University on Thursday, added that development of programs such as the planned anti-missile in Europe would allow the United States to decrease its nuclear weaponry.
“Capabilities like an adaptive missile defensive shield, conventional warheads with world-wide reach and others that are developing and being developed will enable us to reduce the role of nuclear weapons as other nuclear powers begin to draw down even further,” the vice president said.
Biden was also making the case for the big jump in spending so that scientists can make certain the aging US nuclear stockpile remains ready for use, if needed, without test explosions.
The new administration budget allocates USD 7 billion for scientists and laboratories that maintain warhead readiness — an increase of about 13.5 percent and one of the largest in the next spending plan.
The 2011 budget also calls for spending an additional USD 5 billion on those projects over the next five years.
Biden comments come while US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed in July to cut their respective number of nuclear warheads to between 1,500 and 1,675 under a new treaty.